Meyer Material Ushers Aggregate Industries Into Chicago And Milwaukee Markets

Aggregate Industries is the first multinational ready mixed producer to enter one of the last major U.S. population centers controlled by private operators,


Aggregate Industries is the first multinational ready mixed producer to enter one of the last major U.S. population centers controlled by private operators, closing last month on a $231 million deal for Meyer Material Co. in McHenry, Ill. The transaction spans properties and assets in northern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin: 25 ready mixed plants with a fleet of 450-plus trucks; six sand & gravel sites with 125 million tons of reserves, and additional underground deposits; a DeKalb, Ill., concrete landscape unit plant, PaveLoc; and, concrete placement services supported by a small fleet of boom pump and belt conveyor trucks.

With a payroll upward of 750, Meyer reported 2005 sales of about $190 million on shipments of 1.7 million yd. of ready mixed; .5 million square meters of paving stone and segmental retaining wall unit equivalents; and, 5 million tons of aggregates. The additional ready mixed volume stands to place Aggregate Industries in the 7 million-9 million yd. annual production range with U.S. Concrete, Oldcastle Materials, and Lafarge North America’s and Lehigh Cement’s U.S. businesses.

Meyer creates a seventh region for Aggregate Industries, which most recently expanded in 2004 with aggregates, asphalt and ready mixed properties serving Las Vegas. Meyer is the first U.S. deal for Aggregate Industries since its U.K.-based parent company was acquired by Swiss giant Holcim Ltd. in mid-2005. Meyer’s Illinois operations are strategic to at least two Holcim (US) Inc. cement terminals outside Chicago with combined storage of about 50,000 tons, and the 550,000-ton-per-year Chicago Skyway GranCem slag cement grinding plant. Chicago is also the largest market in reach of Holcim’s 4-million tpy Ste. Genevieve plant, sited along the Mississippi River in Ste. Genevieve County, Mo., and scheduled for a 2010 opening.

In its main market across Chicago’s northern and western suburbs, Meyer has plants overlapping properties of leaders Prairie Material Sales and Ozinga Bros., which have commanding presence in both the suburbs and the city of Chicago. Meyer more recently entered the Milwaukee market, where Prairie had set up shop by acquiring Central Ready Mixed. Aggregate Industries is purchasing the operations from New York-based limited partnerships Wasserstein & Co. and Park Avenue Equity Partners, which had held Meyer Material for just over a year.

The Meyer sale follows Hanson Aggregates‘ recent closing on Chicago-based Material Service Corp., a $300 million transaction that included nine quarries in Illinois and Indiana. That deal marked the entry of a multinational aggregate producer into the Chicago market, whose other main players are Prairie and Vulcan Materials. The Material Service and Meyer sales sever ties between two of Chicago’s wealthiest families and key construction materials businesses. The Crown family had maintained a stake in Material Service as the largest shareholder of General Dynamics, which sold the business to Hanson. The Pritzker family, best known for its Hyatt hotel chain, had held Meyer Material within its Chicago-based manufacturing conglomerate, The Marmon Group, prior to the Wasserstein/Park Avenue sale.